Me back with yet another story of my treks. This is THE greatest trek of my life till date, I owe a zillion thanks to Murli san for this one. This is a story I wrote way back in May 2005. In this writeup I have tried to copy the style of one of my friend Raghuvir, whoz a good writer and my trek friend too.
Mukurthi is the 4th highest peak in South India. It is one of peaks in Nilgiris. It’s located very close to Ooty and has lotz of wildlife and hence is a protected by government of India as Mukurthi National Park. The peak is abt 8000ft above sea level. The national park is spread across an area of 78.46 sq.kms. It’s named “Mukurthi” because, the hill ranges seem to take the shape of a sleeping baby’s face where Mukurthi forms the nose. Well this was for the technical details part...as I see it...it was "Nature as wild as it can be, and as beautiful as it can be".
Promise of adventure
Our( me, nirmala, ramya, murli, puvi, santosh, bhavik, arun, pooran) trek began with Big Bang Promise of adventure. It was around 4:00am and we were all( but for our driver) fast asleep in our vehicle. Our driver was the driving us thru the ghat section, where on side of the road was rock while the other was steep cliff. This was when our driver too took the luxury to doze off, and “!!!!!! B - Bang!!!!!!”, our vehicle had hit the rock. ..lucky we, the steering had turned towards the direction of the rock, else we would all have gone deep down the cliff...:-). Not to mention that down the cliff means, good bye world……..!!!!!!
As our trek began, all that fell on my ears was just one sentence “You are lucky to be here”. Mr.Prabhu (the person who arranged for our trek) took the privilege of repeating this sentence over and over again. Like you don’t right now, at that point of time, even I did not understand what this sentence really meant.
It was raining cats and dogs, and so it was decided our vehicle would take us to western catchment-II, and from there we would start off to trek. Like anybody else would be, I was filled with over enthusiasm to trek. But because of the rain, the start was getting postponed, and I was getting impatient. At last we decided to trek in the rain, hurray!!!!!…I couldn’t have been happier….trek in the rain, is like, my long cherished dream come true. But as though somebody couldn’t bear my happiness, it stopped pouring after abt 30 mins we started the trek…..I was disappointed really really disappointed!!!
I met somebody
This is something I cannot miss at any cost. Know what, I met somebody, whom I really really admire. Ppl called him Kashi anna, if I were to give him a name…I would call him Mr.Nilgiris. Can you believe, he is the ONLY man who knows all of the forest? If he’s not with you, take my word, you are lost in Nilgiris. And getting lost in Nilgiris means serving tasty yourself to the wildlife there. To speak more abt him, he is 76 years old, and walks so fast, that none of us could keep pace with him!!!! Kashi anna was our guide for the rest of our trek.
Our destination for the day was, “Mukurthi Fishing Hut”. To reach there, we had to walk thru deep jungles and some small streams. I was loving it all…I spent energy very generously, without the least hint that I would need very it much for the next day’s trek. After abt 6 hours of trek, we reached the hut. To speak the truth it was not hut, it was a big house in the midst of deep jungle, with all the facilities, like a solar light, fire places, bedrooms with attached bathrooms, overhead tank…etc etc etc.
I still don’t know why they called it a hut. And for the fishing part…..fishing was a BIG NO in the forest……so why call it “fishing hut”??? was one of my questions which went unanswered…..
Dawn and Gone
Next morning, must have been a beautiful morning, but I failed to notice it. We were to hurry, freshen up and start to the peak by 6:30am. Last night, I had heard a phrase over and over …it was “Tomorrow you will have a life time trek”. This time Mr.Sham (an advocate whose hobby is trekking) took the privilege to say this. This was another sentence which I did not understand at that time. We grabbed a quick breakfast, and gone we were to conquer the peak. At this point of time least did I know what was ahead…after an easy trek the previous day, I think I underestimated this one.
High High and High
For abt 1 hour we were climbing up and down the small hills in the forest, crossing streams and ridges and wading ourselves through the thickest of the forests. I loved it all. As I had just started thinking “Ahh this is easy” the terrain began to get steeper and steeper. There was only high now, I had started getting very exhausted. My body and soul were shouting “No more steeper pleaseeeee...” but ….it was getting steeper and steeper only. The sun shining right on my head was burning out my energy at the speed of light. I carried on….rather dragged on…
A Big Blow
Now we had reached a peak called Amarambalam..(hope I got the name right …if no please pardon my peanut brain). From here I could clearly see our destination of the day (Mukurthi Peak). Good Lord, it was as high and as steep as anything I could imagine. I went crazy at this sight….someone within me was shouting…” No vidi you cant climb that high.. if you try, you will die”. I tried not listening to this someone……but the shouts were getting louder and louder…I could no more hear the sounds for birds and breeze. I told Mr.Nilgiris….. “lets go back”…..he looked at me and smiled. That was the biggest blow every…..I feel deep into the ditch of shame. “How could I say that, I can’t be so coward….” Now I had to climb up the ditch of shame…so I stopped complaining. “I can do it, I can do it..” I kept on telling this to myself. By now we had reached another peak called “Chinna Mukruthi “.
Touched the Clouds
The closer we got the our destination( Mukurthi..thought u might have forgotten by now !!), the tougher it seemed to be reached. I cared abt nothing now, I had stopped admiring nature, stopped smelling fresh air, stopped enjoying the forest noises, all I did was just climb and climb and climb and climb. Later came the toughest, the steepest part ever…we had to climb this on fours. Though this was the steepest, I loved this part the most…The clouds touched passed through me. I was touching the clouds!!!!! I was so excited to be doing it.
By now we had done it. At last we reached the peak.
So long See You
After abt 15 mins on the peak, and one of friend engraving Motorola’s logo on the peak, we started off climbing down. This was an easy climb down.
We were back at the hut by 3:00pm. Grabbed a quick lunch and started again to trek out of the forest. “Good Bye Fishing hut, you couldn’t have been more comfortable a stay in this thick jungle”.
Dinner, a treat to the ears
No No, ears is not by mistake, I really mean it. We reached Ooty, and went to a royal restaurant called “Earl’s secret” for dinner. I don’t know how the food tasted, for I was so busy hearing the adventurous real life stories narrated by Mr.Sham. He spoke abt his treks, his wildest encounters with wild life and I was getting as excited as a baby could be at his “Red Riding Hood” bed time story. I loved his stories. He seemed like a hero to me, who had done all those wildest things which I always dream of doing.
A Treat in the darkness
As we started back the Bangalore, I could hardly sleep, maybe it was the tiredness naa….it was actually the fear that the driver would doze off again. So I decided to stay awake and keep an eye on the driver, my dear friend Puvi offered to stay awake with me. As we both chatted , we noticed a board saying we were driving thru Bandipur. My hopes went high, I wished I could see some wildlife. And know what I did see some !!!. Dozens of deer, stags, elephants etc…I was hoping for a tiger too…but maybe I was asking for a little too much…
Next morning we landed in Bangalore, all of us too happy, we had done Mukurthi!!!!!
Now I understand what the 2 statements meant…”You are lucky to be here”…yes indeed we were, for the trek was not open for everyone, we were in there with permissions obtained with utmost difficulty thanks to Mr.Prabhu and Murli san and the other phrase“ Life time trek” ……yes it surely was !!!!!!!!